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2015 Alumni Weekend honorees announced

On Saturday, May 30, Emerson College will honor five distinguished alumni during the school’s Alumni Weekend festivities. President Lee Pelton will present the awards to the honorees.  This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are President of Production at New Regency Productions Pamela Abdy; President and CEO of Boston Children’s Museum Carole Charnow; Senior Fellow of The Heritage Foundation Mike Gonzalez; and Senior Theatre-Educator-in-Residence, Area Head, and Professor in Theatre Education at Emerson College Bethany Nelson, PhD. The College’s Young Alumni Achievement Award will be presented to Flora Charner, writer, multimedia journalist, and producer (Al Jazeera America, The Guardian, UN Women, Narratively).

Read the full 2015 Alumni Weekend schedule; or register for Alumni Weekend.

Each year, Emerson College honors alumni with the Distinguished Alumni Award and Young Achievement Award—celebrating those who have excelled in their fields and also share a commitment to students, programs, and initiatives. The award honorees return to the campus, located in the heart of Boston’s Theatre District, to accept their individual awards among fellow Emerson alumni. This year’s alumni award presentation takes place during Alumni Weekend’s Alumni and Student Showcase and Celebration, held at Emerson College’s Paramount Mainstage.


Film executive Pamela Abdy '95 is receiving a 2015 Alumni Achievement Award.

Pamela Abdy ’95; President of Production, New Regency Productions

At New Regency Productions, Pamela
Abdy manages the creative team and all feature development, production, and post-production. Prior to this, she was president of Bluegrass Films, procuring, developing, and producing features. She was also executive vice president at Paramount Pictures. She started her career as an intern at Jersey Films, rising to become president. Her credits include Kill the Messenger, Babel, Identity Thief, The Revenant, 47 Ronin, Shutter Island, Mean Girls, Freedom Writers, and Garden State.


Boston Children's Museum CEO Carole Charnow '79 is receiving a 2015 Alumni Achievement Award.

Carole Charnow ’79President and CEO,
 Boston Children’s Museum

A leader in the cultural nonprofit world in the United States and the United Kingdom for three decades, Carole Charnow has overseen more than 100 professional theatrical and opera productions, as well as community–based music and arts education programs and events. Under her direction, the Boston Children’s Museum has forged transformative partnerships across the Commonwealth, winning the 2013 IMLS National Medal for community service. She is also the co-founder of Opera Boston.


Mike Gonzalez '83, senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, is receiving a 2015 Alumni Achievement Award.

Mike Gonzalez ’83; Senior Fellow, The Heritage Foundation

Mike Gonzalez started his journalistic career writing about high school sports one summer at The Boston Herald, then eventually ending up at The Wall Street Journal. He would later serve as deputy editor of European editorial pages and editor in Asia. He left journalism to serve as a speechwriter for SEC Chairman Christopher Cox and then for the State Department’s European Bureau during the George W. Bush administration. His book, A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans, was released this fall.


Performing Arts faculty member Bethany Nelson '82 is receiving a 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. 

Bethany Nelson ’82, PhD; Senior Theatre-Educator-in-Residence, Area Head, Undergraduate Theatre Education, Emerson College

Bethany Nelson, an educator for 35 years in public and private settings, now instructs graduate and undergraduate students in theatre education, playmaking, and multicultural education. She works with Boston high school students through emersonTHEATRE, helping them develop performance and advocacy skills. Her research on the effects of theatre on learning in urban populations has been published in national and international journals and texts. She has won the ATHE/KCACTF Prize for Innovative Teaching, the Helaine and Stanley Miller Award for Outstanding Teaching, and the Leonidas A. Nickole Theatre Educator of the Year Award.


International journalist Flora Charner '04 is receiving the 2015 Young Alumni Achievement Award.

Flora Charner ’04; Journalist

Flora Charner ’04, a multimedia journalist focusing on socio-political issues in Latin America, is the winner of this year’s Young Alumni Award.  Charner began her career shortly after graduating from Emerson with Associated Press Television in Washington, DC. She worked for the AP for nine years where she took on many jobs, including senior producer in Brazil. In 2013, she completed her Master’s degree at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.  She currently works as a freelance writer, video journalist, and producer in Rio de Janeiro and New York for Al Jazeera America, The Guardian, Americas Quarterly, UN Women and Narratively, among others, and is the author of the Amazon e-book “Shot in the Favela: How Television and Film Influence the Image of Poverty in Rio de Janeiro.”

About Emerson College

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has 3,750 undergraduates and 750 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its study and internship programs in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, the Netherlands, London, China, and the Czech Republic. A permanent facility on Sunset Boulevard for its LA-based program opened in January 2014. The College has an active network of 32,000 alumni who hold leadership positions in communication and the arts. For more information, visit        

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